The proximal contact point or the area refers to the surface point or area where the proximal surfaces of neighbouring teeth come in contact. Contact point/area is usually found in the occlusal one third of the natural crown of the most of the teeth.
Advantages of a Proper Contact Area
- It creates a natural embrasure supplying an opportunity for the good maintenance of the hygiene of the interproximal area.
- An ideal contact supports the dental arch stability by transmitting the force along the long axis of the teeth.
- Ideal proximal contact acts as a barrier against food impaction and thus contributes to underlying periodontal health by supplying food spillway and easing hygienic cleaning.
- The correct relationship with the adjacent tooth allows a good support against masticatory forces and promotes the deflection of the food through the embrasure.
- The correct contact areas help in proper speech; and cosmetics, especially in the anterior region.
Disadvantages of an Improper Contact Areas
- Faulty contacts lead to restorative defects which hampers the health of the periodontium
- Too broad contact bucco-lingually or occlusal-gingivally causes change in the tooth anatomy, improper shunting of food in bucco-lingual direction because of narrow embrasure this leads to food impingement in the contact area and contact area which is more concave (or flat) can be broad which will result in improper physiological movement of the tooth.
- Too narrow contact bucco-lingually or occluso-gingivally causes food impaction vertically and horizontally which leads to wide embrasure in which lead to greater food retention and plaque accumulation and contact area which is more convex will diminish the extent of the contact area.
- Contact area placed too occlusally, buccally or lingually will result in flattened marginal ridge of the restoration, Contact point too gingivally will lead to increased depth of occlusal embrasure, and loose contact creates continuity between embrasures leading to food impaction.
- It is common to see good proximal contact but in adequate contour in proximal restoration. Similarly, a good contour with the poor proximal contact exits can be possible.
It is to be noted that establishing the correct interproximal contact is the primary aim of restorative procedures, besides restoring the missing part of the tooth and its function.
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